Jacksonville Bar Association

Trial Conduct and Courtroom Decorum

  1. A lawyer should always interact with parties, counsel, witnesses, jurors or prospective jurors, court personnel and the judges with courtesy and civility and should avoid undignified or discourteous conduct that is degrading to the court or the proceedings.
  2. Counsel shall admonish all persons at counsel table that gestures, facial expressions, audible comments, or the like, as manifestations of approval or disapproval during the testimony of witnesses or at any other time, absolutely are prohibited.
  3. During trials and evidentiary hearings, the lawyers mutually should agree to disclose the identities and duration of witnesses anticipated to be called that day and the following day, including depositions to be read, and should cooperate in sharing with opposing counsel all visual aid equipment.
  4. A lawyer should abstain from conduct calculated to detract or divert the fact finder’s attention from the relevant facts or otherwise cause the fact finder to reach a decision on an impermissible basis.
  5. A lawyer knowingly should not misstate, distort, or improperly exaggerate any fact or opinion nor permit the lawyer’s silence or inaction to mislead anyone.In appearing in his or her professional capacity before a tribunal, a lawyer should not
      • State or allude to any matter that he or she has no reasonable basis to believe is relevant to the case or that will not be supported by admissible evidence;
      • Ask any questions that he or she has no reasonable basis to believe is relevant to the case and that is intended to degrade a witness or other person;
      • Assert a personal knowledge or opinions concerning the facts in issue, except when testifying as a witness.
      • Assert a personal opinion concerning the justness of a cause, the credibility of a witness, the  culpability of a civil litigant, or the guilt or innocence of an accused, but may argue, on the lawyer’s analysis of the evidence, for any position or conclusion with respect to the matters at issue.
  6. A question should not be interrupted by an objection unless the question is patently objectionable or there is a reasonable ground to believe that information is being included that should not be disclosed to the jury.
  7. When a judge already has made a ruling about the inadmissibility of certain evidence, a lawyer should not seek to circumvent the effect of that ruling and get the evidence before the jury by repeated questions relating to the evidence in question, although the lawyer may make a record for later proceedings of the ground for urging the admissibility of the evidence in question.  This does not preclude efforts by the lawyer to have the evidence admitted through other, proper means.
  8. A lawyer scrupulously should abstain from all acts, comments, and attitudes calculated to curry favor with any juror, by fawning, flattery, actual or pretended solicitude for the juror’s comfort or convenience, or the like.A lawyer never should attempt to place before a tribunal or jury evidence known to be clearly inadmissible, nor make any remarks or statements intended improperly to influence the outcome of any case.
  9. A lawyer should accede to reasonable requests for waivers of procedural formalities when the client’s legitimate interests are not affected adversely.

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